2014 : Year of the Changing Perspective

9th Annual "END OF THE YEAR REPORT" for 2014

The start of 2014 started off pretty slow and fruitful. And then, like any downhill momentum it just sped through and now, suddenly we're a week into the new year. That's not to say that downhill means anything negative. 

Like last year, this was a fairly good year. Though, as the year progressed, I began to sense a coming change. Not sure exactly what that is, but I'm getting antsy with the direction of my life. What is it? Is it just enjoying the day to day job, life and entertainment? I really love living in LA, that's not going to change but what exactly am I doing here? 

The idea of directing feels so daunting and out of reach, even though this year, I actually got paid to direct. After eight years in the city, I finally was acknowledged as a director worth paying. And it turned out, anti-climatic. 

I hope to maybe do some more in the new year, but my newest passion is gaming. Particularly table-top gaming. I designed a simple card game ("Kill Monsters") and I think I'm going to try my hand at that this year. Finishing up some play testing early in the year, then finding an illustrator and hopefully launch a successful Kickstarter with it. That, among all other things, is my greatest goal for the new year.

With that, here's the top ten list... almost 10 years now!!! Crazy crazy. 

Movies - Popcorn
  1. Guardians of the Galaxy
  2. Intersteller
  3. Edge of Tomorrow
  4. Captain America: Winter Soldier
  5. Godzilla
  6. The Lego Movie
  7. Gone Girl
  8. Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies
  9. Big Hero 6
  10. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Movies - Cinema
  1. Birdman
  2. Whiplash
  3. Under the Skin
  4. Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Selma
  6. American Sniper
  7. Nightcrawler
  8. Inherent Vice
  9. Foxcatcher
  10. Snowpiercer

TV
  1. Louie
  2. Mad Men
  3. Getting On
  4. Good Wife
  5. Legend of Korra
  6. Orange is the New Black
  7. Homeland
  8. Boardwalk Empire -- great finale!
  9. Veep
  10. The Comeback -- great finale!
  11. Greg Berlanoti's Arrow & Flash
  12. Hannibal
  13. The Leftovers
  14. You're the Worst
  15. Halt & Catch Fire
  16. Walking Dead
  17. Last Week Tonight
  18. Star Wars: Rebels
  19. Teen Wolf / The 100
  20. Brooklyn 99
** So much great television this year, expanded it to 20.

Video Games
  1. Dragon Age: Inquistion
  2. Wolf Among Us
  3. Walking Dead: Season 2
  4. Infamous: Second Son
  5. Alien Isolation
  6. Destiny
  7. Shadows of Modor
  8. Smash Brothers (Wii U)
  9. Mario Kart 8
* This year has been terrible for video games. Besides Dragon Age & the TellTale games, I've been very unimpressed. Next year however, ho boy!

Table Top Games
  1. Dungeons & Dragons: 5th Edition
  2. Twilight Imperium
  3. Mice & Mystics
  4. HeroQuest
  5. Game of Thrones
  6. Dead of Winter
  7. HP Lovecraft / Fantasy Flight Games: Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness
  8. Co-Op Games: Pandemic, Forbidden Desert, Forbidden Island
  9. Shadows over Camelot
  10. Retro Games: Fireball Island, Fun City, Harbingers (Nightmare VHS Game)

Music - Albums
  1. Singles by FUTURE ISLANDS
  2. Hozier by HOZIER
  3. After the Disco by BROKEN BELLS
  4. Morning Phase by BECK
  5. Encyclopedia by DRUMS
  6. They Want My Soul by SPOON
  7. Ultraviolence by LANA del REY
  8. Misc. Singles by PRINZE GEORGE
  9. Everything Will Be Alright in the End by WEEZER
  10. Sisyphus by SUFJAN STEVENS, SON LUX, SERENGETI

Music - Songs
  1. Seasons (Waiting on You) by FUTURE ISLANDS
  2. Good Mistake by MR LITTLE JEANS
  3. Victor by PRINZE GEORGE
  4. Holding on for Life by BROKEN BELLS
  5. Magic by COLDPLAY
  6. Fall in Love by PHANTOGRAM
  7. To Be Alone by HOZIER
  8. I Can't Pretend by THE DRUMS
  9. Out of the Black by ROYAL BLOOD
  10. Careful You by TV ON THE RADIO
  11. Shades of Cool by LANA del REY
  12. They Want My Soul by SPOON
  13. Alcohol by SUFJAN STEVENS, SON LUX, SERENGETI
  14. 10,000 Emerald Pools by BORNS
  15. Till It's Gone by YELAWOLF
  16. Take Me To Church by HOZIER
  17. Blue Moon by BECK
  18. Ain't Got Nobody by WEEZER
  19. Out of the Woods by TAYLOR SWIFT
  20. Every Breaking Wave by U2

Books (Not necessarily 2013 books)
Some of these books I (DNF) for one reason or another, regardless of whether I liked them
  1. Harry Potter Saga (2nd re-read)
  2. Mistborn: Final Empire
  3. Gone Girl
  4. D&D World / Forgotten Realms
  5. Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit (DNF)
  6. Wold War Z (DNF)
Technology (Apps, Gear, & Internet Stuff)
  1. Pebble Steel
  2. All New Apple Gear: iPhone 6, MBP Retina, iPad Air
  3. Imgur, part of my daily internet along with Twitter & Facebook (Paper)
  4. WeMo Lights, I can't wait for the "Smart House"
  5. Everything Subscription: Apps, Programs, Netflix, etc
  6. Tile, which was cool but not... fully practical
  7. Evernote, Dropbox

A LOOK AT THE YEAR

Some Moments from the Year (Good & Bad):
  1. Re-reading the entire Harry Potter series, watching the movies after every book. A wonderful, awesome experience. One I'll probably do again soon... not so much with Lord of the Rings, as I tried to do the same with it.
  2. All day Twilight Imperium. We did this twice this year. And I loved it.
  3. D&D Group -- got VERY obsessed with this this year and look forward to more in the new year.
  4. Had Jury Duty this year, for the first time. Pretty uneventful.
  5. My "status" holiday, 2/28 came and went and meant really nothing to me. Felt good about that.
  6. Worked for Philymack, had a pretty great time, but soon realized, I was unhappy and quit. Maybe was a good idea, maybe not.
  7. Went to Comic Con this year -- did the overnight camp out for Hall H, something I may never do again but it was fun to do once... but as the days grow closer, I may change my mind.
  8. Had maybe a little TOO much fun in July & September... 
  9. Went to Big Bear with some friends for the weekend. Was both super fun and kinda lonely. 
  10. Had a fun birthday this year. Little Scavenger Hunt at the old abandoned zoo then went to a barcade.

This Year's Themes:
  1. CHANGING PERSPECTIVE: my desire & passion for filmmaking has evolved into that of gaming and more specifically Table Top Gaming.
HOPES / GOALS FROM 2014 FULFILLED?
  1. GET INTO A ROUTINE (Health, Writing, Social, etc)
    1. Kinda -- been better about going to the gym
  2. Finish Two NEW Scripts 
    1. Not close -- but this year has evolved from wanting to write, though I do have a new script I'm working on.
  3. Get AS SIMPLE AS SNOW out there, in any ways I can
    1. I submitted it out and got lackluster reviews on the ending... so, put it aside for now. Working on something that's probably a little more manageable budget wise (and I actually own rights too).
  4. Raise $$$ for a new project (hopefully of feature length)
    1. No. But that's alright.
  5. Network More, re-engage the Filmmaker
    1. Funny, I've dis-engaged the Filmmaker this year, but possibly for the better?
  6. Keep Hiking & Going to the Gym - make it a HABIT
    1. This I've done pretty good. I hiked a bunch & kept the gym. Though I didn't lose weight just sort of maintained.
  7. New Laptop, Desktop
    1. This DID happen! New laptop, iPadiPhone, and decided I didn't really want to get a desktop. 
  8. Save Save Save!!! 
    1. This I did not do at all. When I quit back in June, that really wiped out all that I had saved. I'm back to "unstressfully" being paycheck to paycheck.
  9. Take Vacation to Somewhere Awesome
    1. Kinda -- went to Big Bear with friends
  10. Reach "500" - only 119 last year
    1. Funny enough, I did all I wanted to do here in this department. Went on a really wild trip and hit numbers I wanted too.
HOPES GOALS FOR 2014
  1. Play Test my game, get it illustrated, and then get it on Kickstarter... this is my biggest goal.
  2. Finish my "Motel" script... seek out a producer / cast it / start the process
  3. Go to GenCon
  4. Keep Healthy / Keep Gyming it Up / Hit the Hike More Consistently
  5. Read More Novels
  6. Get a Dog

NEWS NEWS OF THE YEAR
  1. Michael Brown & Eric Garner
  2. Ebola "Scare"
  3. Ice Bucket Challenge
  4. Death of Robin Williams
  5. Missing Malaysian Plane
  6. Mid-Term Elections
  7. War in the Ukraine: Putin, Russia, Shot down Plain
  8. World Cup
  9. Winter Olympics: Sochi
  10. Nigerian Missing Girls

I want to thank lots of people this year -- in no particular order: my Mom, my Sister, my good friends here in LA, my roommate, my gaming groups (Twilight, D&D), the internet world, those who make all these awesome games, awesome video games, awesome movies -- anyone who creates. You guys are fucking awesome. 

Hugs & warmth to all.

Making It In LA (Or At Least Doing What You Want)

Blogging, journalling, telling the stories of your brain, seems passé. I use social media pretty prevalently: Facebook and Twitter mostly, but Instagram on occasion which in turn becomes my Tumblr feed... which posts to Twitter and finally ending up in the lake of my Facebook wall. 

I'm not sure exactly why I do it, but it's definitely what I would consider to be my OUTward persona. The sort of guy I am online, the sort of guy I'd want to be, if people met me. Things I think about, things I think are funny, news worth noting. It's also my own personal online journal. I can go back a few years and see all things thing I cared about, thought about. It's pretty cool. 

I'm sad Facebook is evolving to be more "news centric" - and less about my friends lives. I can understand when you're a publicly traded company, you have to prove you're worth something and hearing about people's days doesn't exactly bring home the bacon.

Anyway, that said, I'm going to start blogging again. I say, often - but I'm going to do what I did in the beginning and start writing every month, thinking about what I'm going to write and eventually put it to paper. 

The reason, I'm really here is to tell you fellas/ladies about the latest greatest thing: I'm a director.

Now, you may think that seems silly to say. I should always consider myself a director and always call myself a director. That's what you do when you move to LA, you claim yourself to be what you want to be, but I've always felt a little queazy about it. I had to earn that title. Well, this month, I finally did. Or, to say more properly - someone is actually going to give me money to direct. This isn't a short for myself, or to help out a friend, but an actual job I had to write on, pitch for - and get.

It's a music video. 

Nothing spectacular. It's not an artist you would know but they're signed and have graciously accepted the treatment that I wrote for their song. 

The video is being shot this coming 30th, a few days after my birthday (best birthday present ever?) and should be online for public consumption by mid-October or so. It's a video using the same projection technique as Michel Gondry's White Stripes' "Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground" video. It's still very differently tonally, and I believe has relevance within the story of the video.

Regardless, it's kind of a surreal experience. I moved out to LA in 2006 with the sole priority of becoming a movie director. I thought the easiest path to that would be music videos and so my first gig was at DNA. I was an intern. I chose to intern at DNA because their sister company was UK's Academy, where Jonathan Glazer was rep'd at the time. 

I thought, I could intern for a bit and get in good, move my way up and eventually get the opportunity to direct. Small projects at first, etc.

Well, that dream died quickly and I ended up quitting my internship on my birthday a month later. Having found myself to be completely ignored by everyone in the office by the office manager, and then only treated as free janitorial service. I was dusting light bulbs.

I quit and started a very long journey through production, mostly on music videos with about a quarter of the time working on commercials. I was a set PA, then worked the truck. Then I began to work in the office, eventually getting an opportunity to coordinate. I took a two year detour through reality TV where I started to PM but eventually got fired because, I guess because I just wasn't a "team player." 

In that time, I had a few short films play the festival circuit. 

My thesis film from college was the most successful in that it traveled around the world playing three continents, 10 countries, and winning half a dozen awards, including the grand jury prize at the Seoul International Children's Festival, the Montreal Image+Nation Film Festival, and a special jury prize for Experimental Short at the SXSW festival.

My next short started off even bigger playing Sundance in 2008. A festival I had dreamed of playing since I was a young teenager. It ended up having a much shorter circuit, only playing a few festivals before I just put it online.

I haven't done much after that. I made a deeply personal, yet pretty flawed, web series about my experience with HIV.

Over the years, I've actually grown pretty disenfranchised with the movie business and saw the dream I had since I was in 8th grade pretty far fetched. And yet, it wasn't that much of a heartbreaker. I didn't grow cynical or angry, just found that my desires and heart had evolved into television and gaming. It's not to say that I wouldn't want to make films for a living, I just never saw that dream happening the way the industry is set up.

Yet, gaming (both console and table top) is incredibly intriguing. I find a tremendous satisfaction out of console gaming (from the Uncharted series, Mass Effect, Limbo, The Walking Dead video game, and even Minecraft). And television is now what I believe cinema was in the 70s. 

In fact, this year, I've been putting together my first ever card game. Building upon elements that I've found satisfying in games and using them to create something I'd want to play. 

I've written pilot to a comedy with a friend, and just sort of satisfied my creative needs with projects here and there. 

It's recently that I had an opportunity to write on a music video. A guy I met first as an intern, like myself, working for free and just getting his feet wet quickly become my office PA and then coordinator. And then, jumping me all together to become a producer in his own right. He was now asked to commission a music video and had me, along with a few others, submit a treatment to a little video.

The strange (and odd) thing about the artist was that I had actually worked on her video as a Production Manager a few years back when she was unsigned. 

In any case, in just over a month, I'll have directed something on commission for money in Los Angeles, a feat I was beginning to think just wasn't possible. Is it the start to a budding directorial career? Or just one of the few spots in my life of otherwise entertainment consumption and overall happiness.

In either case, it's a great promise. 

Now I just need to make a sick fucking video. 

Going Back: Nintendo

In 1989, I believe, I got my first real gaming console. This Nintendo Entertainment System. Over the next few years, I collected a few games to include: SUPER MARIO, DUCK HUNT, GAUNTLET, METROID, DIG DUG, Q-BERT, & FLYING SCROLL.

I have owned all the Nintendo Systems: SNES, 64, Gamecube, Wii, and now the Wii U.  Only recently actually (2008) have I actually begun playing the new generation consoles (PS3, PS4, 360, XboxOne).  I never actually played Sega (or its iterations), and none of the other guys.

That said, setting up this old guy and playing co-op Gauntlet was a real trip (treat) down memory lane. 

The sound effects, music. Retro gaming really isn't my thing. I don't think I ever actually FINISHED any of these games but it's pretty cool to check it out and know that a machine that's almost 25 years old still works perfectly on my 1080p TV... except Duck Hunt (and the gun) - which I believe needs the bigger 480 resolution pixels to work.  Sad. 





2013 : Year of the Personal Productivity

8th Annual "END OF THE YEAR REPORT" for 2013

So, again, like last year - I wasn't a very big "blogger" and I don't know if I will ever change that. I may try to be better at it, I send myself a IFFT email about it every night, to which I just ignore and delete. I was writing a little daily journal on my iPhone - but that too went fruitless. The whole idea of keeping a daily log has been reduced to small twitter status updates, a few shared Facebook links, and the occasional photo on Instagram  I am "documenting" my life but it's through social medias outside of what some times seems to be an archaic form of media.

That said, I still like this process. Looking through my previous years and seeing movies and things that I did. Television that caught my eye, games. It's a fun & enjoyable trip down memory lane, for myself at least.

This year was a pretty good year. I worked a ton in the later months, on projects that were pretty cool and made some (eh) decent money. Enough to feel confident when I went home for month for the holiday. And... maybe too confident, because now I'm back in LA with a little extra cash but no job on the horizon. Leaving for a month while you're freelance is sort of like quitting your job and it was probably not the greatest idea.

We'll see how it goes moving forward.

Besides that I really enjoyed table top gaming this year, thanks to some new, pretty close friends of mine. I got all the new gaming consoles but have yet to really sit down and enjoy them. I'm hoping this week with nothing to do & no work will turn out to be a good time to catch up. 

Personally, I was as happy as ever. I've found a good balance between social, personal, financial stability. I went on a few dates and realized that as much as I'd love to have a snuggle buddy at night, I'm pretty happy just being a single dude. 

This upcoming year, I may end up getting a dog - undoing the snuggle free life I've led so far.

Artistically, a writer's group I started got me through an adaptation of a script that I'm really happy with. It's given me a new hope for making that leap into film again and I hope this year I can really push that script in some way -- as well as work on other projects that I may even get a chance to shoot.

That said, here's my Top 10 list of everything I saw, read, & did this year:

Movies - Popcorn
  1. Gravity
  2. World War Z
  3. This Is The End
  4. Oblivion
  5. Conjuring
  6. Pacific Rim
  7. Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
  8. Catching Fire
  9. Fast & Furious 6
  10. Anchorman 2
Worst Films I Had the Misfortune to See
  1. Evil Dead
  2. Man of Steel
  3. Oz: Great & Powerful
  4. Hangover 3
Movies - Cinema

  1. Inside Llewyn Davis
  2. Her
  3. Wolf of Wall Street
  4. Mud
  5. Blue Jasmine
  6. Spring Breakers
  7. Behind the Candelabra
  8. 12 Years a Slave
  9. American Hustle
  10. Nebraska
TV

  1. Breaking Bad
  2. Mad Men
  3. The Good Wife
  4. House of Cards
  5. Orange is the New Black
  6. Girls
  7. Arrested Development
  8. Hannibal
  9. Vikings
  10. Homeland
Video Games

  1. The Last of Us
  2. Bioshock Infinite
  3. Zelda: Link Between Worlds
  4. Device 6
  5. Super Mario World
  6. The Cave
  7. Pikman 3
  8. Batman: Origins
  9. Tomb Raider
  10. Gears of War: Judgement
Music - Albums

  1. Chrvches "The Bones of What You Believe”
  2. Arcade Fire “Reflektors"
  3. Vampire Weekend "Modern Vampires…"
  4. Kaye West "Yeezus"
  5. Kid Cudi "Indicud"
  6. The Strokes "Comedown Machine"
  7. Major Lazer "Free the Universe"
  8. Woodkid "The Golden Age"
  9. Atoms for Peace "Amok"
  10. David Bowie "The Next Day”
  11. *** SPECIAL MENTION to Knife Party “HAUNTED HOUSE”
  12. *** SPECIAL MENTION to The National “TROUBLE WILL FIND ME"
Music - Songs

  1. Tether CHVRCHES
  2. Hannah Hunt by VAMPIRE WEEKEND
  3. 80s Comedown Machine by THE STROKES
  4. Ingenue by ATOMS FOR PEACE
  5. New York City Rage Fest by KID CUDI
  6. Scare Me by MAJOR LAZER
  7. Blood on the Leaves by KAYNE WEST
  8. Come a Little Closer CAGE THE ELEPHANT
  9. Get Lucky DAFT PUNK
  10. Tunnel Vision by JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
  11. Team by LORDE
  12. Kangaroo Court by CAPITAL CITIES
  13. We Cant Stop by MILEY CYRUS
  14. Demons by THE NATIONAL
  15. Step by VAMPIRE WEEKEND
Books (Not necessarily 2013 books)
Some of these books I (DNF) for one reason or another, regardless of whether I liked them
  1. Ready Player One
  2. Cuckoo's Calling (DNF)
  3. Great Gatsby
  4. Catching Fire
  5. Mockingjay
  6. Under the Dome (DNF)
Technology (Apps, Gear, & Internet Stuff)
  1. Pebble Watch
  2. Fitness Bands: currently the Fitbit Force, previously the UP Band (which broke twice)
  3. YNAB (You Need a Budget)
  4. SIMPLE Bank - no more Big Banks for me (for now)
  5. PS4 & XBoxOne
  6. WhatsApp
  7. Fantasitical App
  8. Imgur (Site)
  9. aNote App
  10. Ridiculous Fishing Game/App
A LOOK AT THE YEAR
    Favorite Month
    1. NOVEMBER ... I was financially in a really good place, I went to a "cabin in the wood" - bought new gaming consoles, had work with some new & really awesome people - and all in all felt really fucking great. 
      Favorite Day (Tied)
      1. AUGUST 28th ... after 13 long months, I won a settlement from an old employer who decided that "not paying" was in her best interest. It ended up costing her almost 6 times my original rate in fees & interest. It was the first time I truly felt the law on my side.
      Favorite Moment (tied)
      1. Private (clothespin)
      2. Winning Fantasy Football & $400

        Worst Month
        1. MARCH ... work wise - I was coordinating, which is something I don't do often and I made a pretty bad impression on two different jobs with two different Production Managers/Producers. Plus, they put a lot of their own weaknesses on me, making me feel pretty stupid. One very big company I worked for probably thinks of me as a real incompetent and I am pretty sure I won't be working there again, believing I'm on a "no call" list. It's humiliating and really reinserts my need to move forward as a filmmaker and stop working in production.
        Worst Day & Moment
        1. JULY 4th - Last year, I thought - "not taking my meds was a good thing" - I was wrong & on July 4th, I had to go to the hospital with Pneumonia. It cost me about $2500 and 12 hours of my life. I have since learned my lesson about the severity of my condition & have recovered fine. It's truly humbling to see science at work. 
        FUN & TERRIBLE SHIT FROM THIS YEAR

        • Game Nights
        • Going to the Magic Castle
        • Going to Medieval Times
        • Winning My Court Drama
        • Pneumonia & the Hospital
        • Mom & Grandma came to Visit
        • Damn - LOTS of Work / Buying Shit
        • Lost Weight, Looking Better
        • Bought New Car
        • Seeing Arcade Fire.. Up Close & Personal
        • New Consoles (PS4, Xbox)
        • Winning Fantasy Football
        • Rita’s Death
        THIS YEAR'S THEMES
        1. FOLLOW THROUGH REAPS REWARDS (my labor dispute, finishing my script, etc.)
        HOPES / GOALS FOR 2014
        1. GET INTO A ROUTINE (Health, Writing, Social, etc)
        2. Finish Two NEW Scripts 
        3. Get AS SIMPLE AS SNOW out there, in any ways I can
        4. Raise $$$ for a new project (hopefully of feature length)
        5. Network More, re-engage the Filmmaker
        6. Keep Hiking & Going to the Gym - make it a HABIT
        7. New Laptop, Desktop
        8. Save Save Save!!! 
        9. Take Vacation to Somewhere Awesome
        10. Reach "500" - only 119 last year
        HOPES GOALS FROM 2013 FULFILLED?
        1. More Consistent Writer / Finish Work
          1. Kind of, I finished ASAS but did it through my writer's group and not personally, this year would be nice to just make it part of my routine.
        2. Tone Up
          1. Kind of, being sick had ONE good side effect and that was losing a ton of weight. Too much, which I basically almost put all back on. That said, I am more "tone" then I was last year. This year, I definitely want to finish up and finally lose the gut. AND without eating crap foods... like spinach and kale. ;)
        3. Develop & begin to implement Long Term Career
          1. Kind of, again I really hope to start submitting this script & working on a project that I can actually muster together the money for. I think it's less about planning something and going out and just DOING it. Raising money, meeting people, making it happen.
        4. Be More Social, Network More
          1. Did not happen. Really got a new circle of friends through this game night but I think I'd like to open that up. Join other groups and really try to open up my networking circle. Not just for career opportunities but to meet and get to know more people.
        5. Continue to Be Happy & enjoy Life as You Have
          1. 100% DONE
        6. Buy New Laptop & New Car
          1. Half. Leased a new car but ended up spending money on new consoles & tech rather than a new laptop. This year I'll DEFINITELY be getting a new laptop, that's for certain as this current one is approaching almost 7 years old. It's still a beast.
        7. Reorganize my Social Imprint (New Website, New "Reel")
          1. No new reel, but I did start BITMAPX.com which is going to be a place I put my work on and have business cards for when I start to "get out there." It's more of a start fresh kind of place then actually doing it.
        8. Adopt a Dog
          1. Maybe this year... but I need much more of a savings plan first.
        9. Start to Invest
          1. Total loser here. I should do this but I instead sort of upgraded my living space. New living room, new tech, I think by the end of the year I should have a better space to actually start investing.
        10. Reach 500.
          1. Not even - CLOSE. But I have a really REALLY good feeling about this year. 
        NEWS NEWS IN 2013
        1. Obamacare
        2. Government Shutdown
        3. Edward Snowden Leaks / NSA 
        4. Boston Marathon Bombing
        5. George Zimmerman Trial
        6. Syria Civil War
        7. New Pope who Liberals are All About
        8. Gay Marriage Starts to Really Take Hold Across the Country
        9. Celebrities Mouthing Off & Paying Consequence (Paula Deen, Duck Dynasty)
        10. Netflix (Internet) as a Television Network
        At this point, I usually have a special thanks but this year - nothing sticks out other than all the friends and family I have. I lost my first loved one this year and came face to face with mortality, both in that and personally. Life is pretty special - and living what you got when you got it is really the only way to go. Make it happen when it happens, make opportunities but until then, enjoy what things you have and realize that you're a pretty lucky son of a bitch. I am.

        Hugs & warmth to all.

        Facing Shit is Shitty

        As most people who know me know, I'm HIV positive and recently I decided that taking meds wasn't really my thing.  For many reasons (feeling the meds made me fat, my medical care felt... disjointed, the fear of taking a really harsh drug for the rest of my life would give me cancer, yada yada yada) I stopped taking my meds back in February of last year.

        For the first 8 months or so, I felt - GREAT.  I lost weight, I didn't have this some impending 11:00 pm alarm that would signal (remind) me to take my pill (I'm positive). I was "normal" again.  But, a few months ago, I started losing a lot of weight. Without any help to the portions of fast food and junk I fed myself.  Then, I started to get winded just going up stairs.

        When my Mother & family came, they noted how "skinny" I looked and my Mom knew something was wrong.  In her 20s, she faced a friend who was HIV positive and saw the wasting.  She knew I wasn't taking my meds, even when I lied and said I was.

        We went to the local zoo and I was pushing my grandmother, who had a rough year herself, up and down hills in a wheelchair.  I tried to act tough and "normal" even though I was half able to breathe.  I don't want to bother my Mom and family with troubles from things that came from my own irresponsibility.  From that stigma of what I have.

        A few days after they left was the 4th of July and it was then that I finally gave in and went to the emergency room, where I spent 12 hours overnight with pneumonia.  

        And with that, the kindness of friends, the insistence of family, I got back into medical care and back on my medication.

        The results have been tremendous and frightening.  How important and reliant I am on this pink 123 pill.  My numbers were bad but, in a week or so, I'm sure I'll find out that I've recovered/recovering nicely and within a few months or so, I'll be back to the same old regular guy before I decided medication wasn't my style.

        In the past few months, I've also been working a lot and making a good chunk of change (more so than usual) and I've taken the opportunity to both make a little cushion for myself and upgrade my surroundings.  I won a settlement that'll help buy a new laptop, possibly help with the down payment of a new car, & I'm upgrading my hand me down, thrown together living room into something a little more modern and "adult."

        In the process, especially while painting the entire room on my own, I've felt pretty... alone.

        I say this with a sort of "bullshit" sentiment.  I've got friends who will drop, who HAVE dropped everything to help me in a time of need.  I've got family who show concern and anger when I'm not taking care of myself.  And now, I've got a medical "team" who actually seem to treat me as a human patient, rather than someone who takes pills and has numbers attached.  To feel lonely seems dishonest a feeling.

        But, there's something about what's going on nowadays that just feels... lonely.


        I've thought about trying to date but it just feels so... exhausting.  The idea of dealing with how to be with an HIV guy and what that means - and how to be safe - and are we safe enough - is there spontaneity in our sex life - can there be?  I've sort of gone down the road before and been more embarrassed and rejected than success.

        And the few "bites" weren't people I felt chemistry with. And even trying to see if it's just me being an ass turns out badly.  The guys that I'm attracted too, don't want some damaged kid.

        In my web series, 2 28, I spoke about this idea of a bridge.  And how I was using my old partner to cross that bridge.  That I was holding onto him and losing him would sort of be like losing all together.  I came out of that experience, that relationship, realizing that I can cross my own bridge.  That I didn't need to rely on him - that I can rely on myself.

        There's an image of a red flag.  In the beginning of this experience, it stands in a snow field.  flailing and ripping in the wind.  And at the end, it still stands, destruction around it.  Huge trees fallen.  All disasters can be liveable.


        It's only recently that I've realized that I've been this way all my life.  That I've never really trusted anyone to be 100% "my" partner.  Someone I can just... let take care of me.  In the hospital, when I'm at my most vunerable, I felt the constant need to apologize that they had to take care of me or that I couldn't drink water on my own... that they had to hold a glass to my face.

        Like I've said, I've had friends who will be there when I need them most or even for small things.  I've got family who cares about my well being but at the end of the day, everyone seems to enjoy their life and my existence doesn't feel that... important.  That, without me, they'd be pretty bummed but I'm not... needed.

        I host a Sunday TV night - everyone gets together and we watch Breaking Bad, or Mad Men, or True Blood.  We cook in a sort of pot luck style and really enjoy each other's company.  And I've sort of come to... resent it in a way.  Not because I don't want them to come over or see them - but it sort of makes me feel really fucking lonely.  Them with their partners and dogs and things to look forward to.  When all I really look forward to is them coming over. 

        I've been in one relationship in my life.  One serious relationship, that's lasted more than two weeks, I should say.  And it ended so horribly.  I found myself so reliant on them because I NEEDED to be reliant on someone else.  I wanted someone to carry me because I'm so fucking tired of carrying myself.  And getting the news that I'm fucking HIV POSITIVE was too much...

        ***

        I hated that I couldn't pull one friend over to help me paint my living room.

        In this self-centered bullshit way, I hated that everyone's life is more important than my fucking living room.  As it should be.  As reality is.

        I'm rambling.  Maybe, I want to date.  Maybe, I'm looking for some partnership.  But I don't trust myself with someone else.  I'm so desperate to fall on someone and let them carry me that I'm afraid to let that side of me out.  It's held up, locked away, and I've forced myself to carry myself.  It's easier that way because for 32 years I've found that I can always rely on myself.  I'm a fucking tough mother fucker.

        I think, actually know my attraction to masculine, muscular, athletic men is that they seem to be able to hold onto me.  To carry me.  I need strength.

        I've got brilliant, amazing friends.  A wonderful, dysfunctional & honest family who cares and wants me as their son.  Something I know isn't in everyone's life.  I've got a decent job and make enough money to buy all the video game consoles and crap I could want.  

        In short, I shouldn't complain about any of these things.  There's a whole shit ton of fuck that I could be dealing with - I could be homeless, friendless, rejected by family, addicted to drugs, incarcerated... I'm just a regular dude who made bad decisions and has to deal with the consequences.  Shut the fuck up.

        But, feelings are feelings and they fucking suck.

        A New Obsession with Apps: 10 Apps That's Made Me More Productive pt 1

        There's an app called Mailbox for iOS that's begun what has become a week long obsession with productivity apps.  Using my iPhone as a machine that thinks and does as much as a personal assistant, so that eventually, I can think and do other things.

        The big problem about prod apps is that it (A) takes a while to get used to using them, to rely on them and (B) sometimes, getting set up with them is a hassle and seems like more effort than it's worth.  However, I'm pretty stoked about a few, that I'd like to share here.  I'll probably break this up into a series of entries...

        First up, the app I use most:



        EMAIL

        MAILBOX.  This, for me, was a whole new way to look at mail. I'm someone who used to never delete emails. In fact, I have emails since I got into the Gmail Beta back in 2005.  This is about 14.5g worth of email, close to 8 years.  And everyone of those emails was in my Inbox.

        What Mailbox has done, was train me to look at an Inbox as not a place to store every email, but a place to hold until it can be dealt with.  Like an inbox/outbox on an office desk.  You want a clean and clear Inbox.  The first thing it does, is just removes the ungodly amount of unorganized email as just an Archive.  Nothing deleted but it cleans out your Mailbox so that it's empty.

        Moving forward, when an email comes in, you have 4 choices.  One, delete it forever.  I used to just not read it and move on, now when an email comes in about new movies at the Arclight, I don't need to save that, I delete it. You can just archive it, unsorted (a feature I hardly do).

        The last two things is what keeps you organized: the first is to sort each email into their own folders.  Not a new idea but definitely a new concept for me to learn but the second thing is what's made Mailbox so appealing.  

        Let's say, I'm at work in the middle of a hectic day, lots of emails coming in from Vendors and things.  Then, I get an email from a friend who wants some advice and another email that looks like a really great article for upcoming an Fantasy Football draft.  If I just archived those or put them in my social folder, I'd never read them - but I don't have time to read them now.  What I do instead is send it later. 

        I swipe to the right and choose a time that I think I'll want to read these emails.  My friend's email, I'll want to read tonight.  So, I'll tell it to be sent to me tonight.  Then the article, I'll want to read this weekend. With two simple swipes, the emails are gone forgotten... until they're sent again.  One tonight and the other Saturday morning.

        It's brilliant. And nothing is more satisfying then finding out that email you wanted to read wasn't actually forgotten. It's amazing.

        For now, Mailbox only works with Gmail however I discovered that my personal email with a domain name and hosting I have purchased elsewhere can be funneled through gmail and essentially act as a gmail account. It took some intermediate knowledge of DS Names and things but with some helpful guides online, I can now send and receive emails with my own personal domain through Mailbox.
                


                             

        FINANCE

        YNAB. The next sort of game changer for me is YNAB or You Need a Budget.  The big problem here, is its price tag: $60 (for Mac and iOS).  However, I believe it's worth every penny.  I can be an impulsive buyer.  I'll budget my month out with checks I know are coming in and have it all spent in my head but then get to a store and decide I want a new game or some gadget that yesterday I didn't know existed.  This works, alright, except I tend to go into periods of having money - and then having no money.  These great waves of feeling I can buy practically anything and then having to stay home and not spend a dime.  

        To even me out, I use YNAB.  Which is a sort of new way to look at your spending and it's also a new way to look at a budget.  First of all, at the beginning of the month or whenever you like, you put in your inflow, what you have in the bank to spend. And then you go through the budget and spend every dollar, down to the penny.  Every dollar.  So, if you have $1000, you go through, line by line, bills, savings (long term, vacation, christmas), movies, clothes - whatever you spend things on throughout the month.  It takes a few minutes to set up but when you're done you go about your day.  Then, at the end or beginning of each day, you sit down and enter in all your purchases.  Doing it manually, the 3 or 4 purchases you've made, allows you to really sort of what you did.  

        When you do enter them, you'll see the budget for that line go down.  So if you bought a $30 item, your $100 budget is now just $70 for the month.  Moving forward, you start having to do a sort of whack a mole.  If you're going to buy this new gadget, you're going to have to eat out less because you're entertainment line is at $10.  It doesn't say you shouldn't buy the new gadget - you just have to reorganize your lines so that it all ends up 0s - and you don't overspend.

        You also forget about the savings lines - so at the end of the month, you've actually saved money you sort of forget you have.  Instead of looking at an overall number - I have $1000 in the bank, you look at smaller numbers... I have $100 for food and $50 for shit I don't need.

        There's also a quick and easy iOS app that allows you to enter in purchases on the go, using lines that are more frequent (eating out, entertainment, etc). And it learns how you sort vendors, so plugging in Chick-Fil-A is already calculated out to the restaurant line.  You see instantly how you're doing on your budget.

        I'm in a free 34 day trial but if it's all that it seems - I'm definitely going to be buying the app.

        MINT. Mint is a good way to get an overall impression of your current financial state.  It's not much more than that but I found it to be most useful as an app and installed as a little icon on my tool bar that I can bring down (with a password) and check on my finances throughout the day when I just want a snapshot.

        FREE CREDIT SCORING: The last two are sites: www.creditkarma.com (run by TransUnion) and www.creditsesame.com (run by Experian) both are legit FICO score sites.  And both are 100% free... not pay $15 for something else and get a freescore.com free - FREE.  They use the same information that TU and EX uses and creates a sort of simulated score.  As checking your REAL score too often can actually affect your score negatively. Being run by the actual companies, makes them fairly accurate.  Enough to know if you're doing well, not well, etc.  It gives good advice on what to expect, how to improve scores and taking yourself out of that financial hole.

        It's a long process.

        That's it for now... upcoming: Evernote (the beast) and Wunderlist (the sexy one).

        Pebble (Smart Watch) Thoughts, a month later

        I've had the Pebble for a month now and I can say that I don't LOVE it but I definitely like it, which I think is more in the concept than the execution.  

        I always saw it as a primer for the iWatch (or whatever comes out that's superior in terms of smart watches). I like to wear a watch as an accessory and easy access to time, which I've noticed over the years I'm kind of obsessed with. I feel weird if I can't see the time within my immediately peripheral vision.  In my house, I have to be able to look anywhere and see the time. It's somehow comforting.

        That being said, I like that if I'm on the phone and I get a text, I can just look down at my watch.  Or if my watch is in my pocket, when I get a little buzz I can just see it's that "bye" text from a friend with no need to reply or fumble through my pockets for a small bit of useless information.

        Some things I've learned having it - I need to set a reminder to charge my watch every four days or so.  Not a big deal, just a quick reminder with Siri. I just plug it in that night and it's all good in the morning. I have forgotten to charge and been at work wearing a dead watch, which makes me think that battery is always going to be the determining factor in the success of smart watches.  Also, the Pebble is DAMN glitchy, especially with email.  And sometimes, when it's quiet for a few hours, I don't know if it's because it's just not working or that I'm just not getting anything.  In the few weeks I've had it, they've updated it once and it seems to run SLIGHTLY better, so I assume within six months or so, it'll only be that much better.

        I'm sure the next generation of watches will include talk back, so you can reply to things with Siri, etc. which will be pretty cool.  I like the idea of technology becoming something we wear more casually and making the hunched over phone experience something of the late 2000s.

        That being said, would I recommend it to anyone?  Probably not.  Unless they love techy stuff, like to wear a watch, and are big smartphone users - lots of texts, emails, phone calls. Most likely, a better one is coming but not for 12 months or more, so if $150 is worth it for a year of being a bit of a nerd and getting used to the idea of getting texts on a watch, do it.  If not, I'd definitely wait.

        2012 : Year of the Happy Laziness

        7th Annual "END OF THE YEAR REPORT" for 2012

        This year, I didn't blog much at all.  Like - crazy.  I wrote 4 entries.  Yowza.  I think this year, I'm going to spend it becoming a more habitual writer.  Someone who makes it a point to write.  Whether that's here.  Or screenwriting.  Or novel writing.  Just something.  

        I do love video games & television & film - but damn, do I need to learn to balance.  This year was a mix bag.  On one hand, I gain steady employment, upgraded some of my things, started actually paying down on student loans, paid off all my credit cards, got my financial house in better shape... and then stopped working in December and sort of feel like I was at the end of LAST year.  

        It's always two steps forward and one step back in my financial world.  

        In terms of career... that just completely stalled.  "2 28" was unseen by most everyone and I'm not sure if its something I'm very proud of or hate immensely   Here I had an opportunity to make something great and instead I made something that most people can't really sit through.  

        This year, I have to feel I'm making something happen.

        Then again - I was really happy this year.  I gained some new friends and found simple happiness in consuming art & entertainment.  I still want to be a part of that creation but working & playing & enjoying life as it comes has been really really rewarding.  A thing I never thought possible without actually BEING a director.  

        I don't know if that's a bad thing or a good thing.  Isn't the whole goal of life to pursue happiness?  And if you are happy - can you not consider yourself successful?  But if your other goal in life is to direct... and you're hunger and unhappiness isn't really there - can you still make it happen?  Is it worth it?

        I think also that I'm becoming more and more disenfranchised by the industry.  There are some that have seem to break through but most films that come out just seem to be terrible... or average at best.  This year, record breaking at the box office, was kind of mediocre when it came to movies.  In fact, video games too were pretty damn slim pickins'.  Same goes for music.  It just wasn't that great of a year for art in general... or at least the art that I consumed.  

        Regardless, I still made a top ten list... and I even made a few changes to the ol' formula.  

        So, without further ado, my Top 10 Things:


        BEST MOVIES

        * This year I decided to break it up by Popcorn movies, movies that are just good damn fun without much to retain afterwards and Cinema movies, movies that may not be something you're ready to consume again immediately but sticks with me.  I will say - not a great year in Cinema.

        POPCORN

        1 / Skyfall
        2 / Prometheus
        3 / Chronicle
        4 / Magic Mike
        5 / Avengers
        6 / Dark Knight Rises
        7 / Hunger Games
        8 / Wreck It Ralph
        9 / The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
        10 / Ted


        CINEMA

        1 / Moonrise Kingdom
        2 / Zero Dark Thirty
        3 / Looper
        4 / Holy Motors
        5 / Life of Pi
        6 / Silver Lining Playbook
        7 / Cloud Atlas
        8 / Lincoln
        9 / To Rome With Love
        10 / The Master


        WORST MOVIES I SAW

        1 / Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer
        2 / Seeing A Friend for the End of the World
        3 / Men in Black III
        4 / The Amazing Spider-Man
        5 / Paranormal Activity 4



        TELEVISION

        1 / Breaking Bad
        2 / Mad Men
        3 / Legend of Kora
        4 / Walking Dead
        5 / Boardwalk Empire
        6 / Louie
        7 / Homeland
        8 / Archer
        9 / Justified
        10 / Good Wife


        * Honorable Mention to: American Horror Story: Asylum, New Girl, Happy Endings, American Idol, Big Brother, Survivor, Childrens Hospital, Wipeout, True Blood, & all the other television I watched this year... DAMN.

        WORST TELEVISION

        1 / Anger Management
        2 / Newsroom - which I "hate watched" as the folks say


        BOOKS

        1 / Age of Miracles, which was great... and I need to finish.

        * I seriously SERIOUSLY need to be a better reader. That's a goal this year, most definitely.


        VIDEO GAMES

        1 / Journey - hands down
        2 / Minecraft: Xbox Edition
        3 / Mass Effect 3
        4 / Borderlands 2
        5 / tie: FEZ & Dishonored


        MUSIC

        BEST ALBUM

        1 / The Weeknd "Trilogy"
        2 / Beach House "Bloom"
        3 / Chromatics "Kill for Love"
        4 / Grizzly Bear "Shields"
        5 / Edward Sharpe... Zeros "Here"
        6 / Santigold "Master of My Make-Believe"
        7 / Japandroids "Celebration Rock"
        8 / WZRD "WZRD"
        9 / Grimes "Visions"
        10 / G.O.O.D. Music "Cruel Summer"

        BEST SONGS

        1 / Myth (Beach House)
        2 / This Isn't Our Parade (Santigold)
        3 / Man on Fire (Edward Sharpe)
        4 / The House That Heaven Built (Japandroids)
        5 / Lady (Chromatics)
        6 / Efflictim (WZRD)
        7 / End of the Line (Sleigh Bells)
        8 / Amanaemonesia (Chairlift)
        9 / Proceed to Memory (Pinback)
        10 / Loft Music (The Weeknd)


        THE INTERNET

        BEST SITE: Imgur
        BEST MEMES: Ermahgerd & Grumpy Cat


        A LOOK AT THE YEAR

        BEST (Personal) IDEAS:

        1 / No More ****, Feeling Better (may turn into a bad idea)
        2 / Going to "Game Night" for the first time
        3 / Buying Minecraft on a whim
        4 / Heading to *******, Learning Place
        5 / Franchise Movie Watching, "Jurassic Park", "Back to the Future", & "Star Wars"

        WORST (Personal) IDEAS:

        1 / Heading to *******
        2 / Deciding to Procrastinate on Writing / Filmmaking
        3 / Not Following Up on Leads for Filmmaking
        4 / Not Balancing Entertainment with Work/Career Efforts
        5 / Not Sticking with Gym & Hiking... I'm so fucking close & ruin it with laziness!

        FAVORITE MONTH:

        November because I got to enjoy the fruits of previous months of solid work: a new iPhone, new TiVo box, WiiU.  I hosted what turned out to be a successful "CLOAK & DAGGER PARTY" which was AWESOME.

        FAVORITE DAY:

        November 24th.  The Hosting of the Cloak & Dagger Party

        FAVORITE MOMENT:

        Private... but @ ******* & the **** **** feeling.

        WORST MONTH:

        To be honest, no month has been terrible.  It was a good yea.r  Could it have been a BETTER year?  Yeah.  Could I have made progress towards my goals as a filmmaker - most definitely... but overall, I 
        was a damn happy guy. 

        WORST DAY:

        Again, no day really sticks out this year.  I got sick, which I don't get very often and that lead to a bit of tooth trouble - which I thought was going to turn out even more horrible but as usual my body is a BEAST and fights through everything and I feel just as healthy as I always have.

        WORST MOMENT:

        None - an overall pretty great year.  

        FAVORITE THING I DID:

        Again, it has to be the Cloak & Dagger Party.  Just a really great day.

        THIS YEAR'S THEMES

        1 / Happiness > Ambition
        2 / How the World Works, The Connection
        3 / Happiness Creates Laziness

        HOPES / GOALS FOR 2013

        1 / Become a More Consistent Writer, Finish Work I've Started
        2 / Tone Up
        3 / Develop and begin to implement a Long Term Career Strategy, Don't Get Lazy
        4 / Be More Social, Network More
        5 / Continue to Be Happy & Enjoy Life As You Have
        6 / Buy New Laptop & New Car
        7 / Reorganize My Social Imprint: New Website, New "Reel"
        8 / Feel Confident Enough Financially to Adopt a Dog
        9 / Save Save Save! & Then start to Invest
        10 / Reach "500"

        HOPES / GOALS FROM 2012 FULFILLED?

        1 / Become a More Consistent Writer?
             * I let procrastination win - not this year.  No way.
        2 / Enter Work Into Competitions - Win Something
             * Nope
        3 / Win a Streamy for "2 28"
             * No Streamy's in 2012 but have been entered for this year's.
        4 / Find Representation
             * Again, no new work, no push career wise at all.
        5 / Find a Mate
             * Found I don't really want this unless it just happens.  Happy.
        6 / Lose Those Love Handles
             * First half of 2012 saw me get as fat as I've ever been.  Then lost 20 pounds.  Still need to tone but this I feel good about - just need - CONSISTENCY.
        7 / Find Steady Income
             * This is kinda sorta good.  December dried up but have worked steady since July.  It's been nice.
        8 / Go on a Road Trip - NO but I should do this.
        9 / Obama is Re-Elected w/ DEM Majorities in House & Senate
             * 2 out of 3 ain't bad, especially since the GOP has cheated their way to House Majority
        10 / Pay off Chase Card, Have $5,000 in Savings
             * Half (paid off cards), Savings - haha - I spend too much.  

        NEWS NEWS NEWS IN 2012

        1 / Election 2012 & Obama Re-Elected
        2 / Hurricane Sandy
        3 / Newtown & Aurora Shootings
        4 / Civil War in Syria
        5 / David Petraeus, Benghazi & Susan Rice
        6 / Fiscal Cliff
        7 / Zombie Attacks
        8 / Social Sites Increase In Popularity: Facebook, Instagram, Twitters, etc.
        9 / London Olympics
        10 / Penn State & Jerry Sandusky

        SPECIAL THANKS TO:

        God.  My Family.  Fantasy Football.  My Friends.  Game Nights.  Minecraft.  Warmth & Love & Awesome Fucking People.

        My New Top 20

        Been a while since I revisited my top 20 films.  I've noticed things have changed, as I've gotten older, 31 today in fact... for one, films that deal with childhood have dropped.  The 400 Blows, once my favorite film, doesn't hold the same water for me.  Still an amazing film, one that pulls on me... especially those last moments.  However, it doesn't mean as much to me.  I don't feel for that child anymore.  That part of me that hated the world I was in.  I'm less angry.  Less cynical.

        I also have tended to bigger, broader films that... work.  Jurassic Park, # 2, on my list is surprising but upon a recent viewing, realized how God damn brilliant it is.  These set pieces inform everything you'd ever need to know about staging action and suspense.  There's a lot more modern films here too.  Moonrise Kingdom is as high as 23.  Mission Impossible is 22, quite possible my favorite action film.

        Without further ado... my top 20:

        1. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.  This film still informs my religious beliefs, my take on perfect cinema, in all it's boredom and wonder.  Seeing it on the big screen reaffirmed that this is hands down the greatest film ever made.
        2. JURASSIC PARK.  In keeping with hyperbole, this is hands down the greatest blockbuster ever made.  It's perfectly designed, the action set pieces choreographed superbly, it's suspenseful, the FX are still amazing today... maybe convinced they just got a real T-REX.  It also is a master class in action orientation.  Creating suspense from well blocked action, camera placement and movement that escalates the tension and easily, simply lays out the stakes.  In an age of quick cuts and lazy explosions, this film is the purest example of true blockbuster potential.
        3. VERTIGO. A film I forgot for most of my 20s, seeing it very early during a Hitchcock phase and then forgotten through film school and beyond.  After re-watching this film, I remembered that it was one of the most beautiful films ever shot.  It's lyrical rhythm almost hypnotic.  There's nothing quite like it.  A masterpiece, if I do say so myself.
        4. ANNIE HALL.  The only film to stay in my top 5.  Still a film that perfectly showcases my personal filmmaking sensibilities.  Taking the form of cinema and using it as a means to tell the story.  Keeping things experimental without alienating.  It's just wonderful.
        5. JFK.  Tension.  Believe what you want about the conspiracy but this film pulls at all my loves for courtroom drama, politics and cinema.  The editing in this film is nothing short of awesome.  The cinematography is almost schizophrenic.  Normal conversation is elevated, things never seem like they could be true... something's always about to happen.  It's a film that seems to recreate the chaos, uneasy, unbelievable experience of such a national tragedy.  
        These top 5 films all have something in common... and that's a use of CINEMA to share its story.  Where a film like Monster is a great performance from Charlize Theron, it's a terrible movie.  With sub-par camera work, completely invisible bland editing... and yet, it doesn't feel real, it just feels... frankly, forgettable.  

        Each film takes into account it's purpose and sets upon itself a level of integrity, quality and thoughtfulness that elevates from a story about dinosaurs, or lost love, or obsession and makes it something more, something greater than itself.  A feat I hope to execute upon given my own opportunity to direct.

        The next fifteen are similar:
        1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
        2. Jurassic Park
        3. Vertigo
        4. Annie Hall
        5. JFK
        6. Zodiac
        7. The Godfather
        8. The French Connection
        9. The Shining
        10. Blade Runner
        11. Lost in Translation
        12. Jaws
        13. Se7en
        14. The 400 Blows
        15. The Royal Tenenbaums
        16. The Graduate
        17. Magnolia
        18. Tree of Life
        19. All the President's Men
        20. The Sixth Sense